NEW YORK CITY-Weill Cornell Medical College on Wednesday brokeground on its $650-million Medical Research Building going up onEast 69th Street in Manhattan, a facility that will more thandouble the institution’s existing research space. It’s thecenterpiece of a $1.3-billion capital campaign, for which $1billion has already been raised in less than four years.

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Tishman Construction is serving as construction manager on theproject, having previously gut-renovated a former Rolls-Roycedealership on East 61t Street into an office and research facilityfor the college. The 18-story Medical Research Building eightblocks to the north is ground-up construction and is scheduled tobe completed by the end of 2011.

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The 480,000-square-foot building will include 16 floors ofprogrammed space dedicated to areas such as cancer, cardiovasculardisease, children’s health, neurodegenerative diseases such asParkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and global health and infectiousdiseases. Design firm Polshek Partnership Architects is emphasizingopen floor plans and energy efficiency, according to a release.

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“This building will be an enormous boon to our researchscientists, who are pursuing translational research across thespectrum of medicine,” says Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., dean of WeillCornell, in a release. “It will make us highly competitive in termsof available workspace for scientists, allowing the college torecruit more than 30 additional top-tier researchers.” TheDiscoveries That Make a Difference capital campaign earmarks $200million for the recruitment of new faculty.

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Thirty-three of the 93 $1-million-plus gifts to the capitalcampaign were dedicated to the building’s construction fund,according to a Weill Cornell. These included a $135-millionchallenge gift from Joan and Sanford Weill and a total of $100million from the Starr Foundation and its founder and CEO, MauriceGreenberg and his wife Corrine.

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In remarks at the groundbreaking, Mayor Michael Bloomberg notedthe project’s impact on the city, starting with the constructionjobs it will create. “This research center will play a central rolein what is emerging as a new industry for New York City—the appliedbiomedical science that turns research into lifesaving medicalproducts,” Bloomberg said Wednesday.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.